RATING: 4 Keys RESULT: Loss REMAINING: 0:00
The Iron Throne awaits! Are you the one true king?
The long night is coming and with it, the dead will arise. Only the one true king can unite the four kingdoms and fight off the living dead. Can you find the artifacts needed for the one true king to emerge and save the lands of the Game of Stones?
Our eyes blink open, adjusting to the dim light as the surroundings fade in to focus. We are locked in a large prison cell deep within an old castle.
Apparently one of us may be a king, and the only one capable of preventing a zombie takeover.
The living dead threat is quickly lost as the game mainly focuses on the story of locating the four artifacts.
We’re not exactly sure why we were blindfolded, led in a single file line into the castle, and locked up in a cell. No time for figuring that out though – there are artifacts to recover!
Milestones throughout the experience trigger a booming narrator who helps move the story towards the conclusion. This was actually a really good mechanism to tie in the game steps with the overarching theme.
The scenic is Game of Stones’ strongest asset. Three separate rooms with distinctly unique aesthetics help the story come to life.
When our eyes opened in the prison cell it was immediately evident that we were in an old castle dungeon. Stone walls, a large wooden door with a metal-barred window, and medieval iconography transported us back in time.
Paired with the visuals, a custom audio track plays throughout the entire game to further enhance the immersion.
Most of the set pieces are heavy duty and well built. We gave the few pieces of fake fruit a pass as every other item in the room fit the setting and was believable.
Game of Stones certainly does not lack in quantity of puzzles and holds enough varied tasks to keep the entire group engaged.
While the actual puzzles were all different, a majority of the challenges followed the same general path. Solve > Maglock compartment opens revealing a piece needed for the next puzzle > Solve > Maglock compartment opens revealing a piece needed for the next puzzle > Solve > Repeat twelve times.
There are a handful of unique tasks that we had fun with, particularly one physical task that required teamwork and quite a bit of dexterity.
A mix of overly easy and frustratingly difficult activities almost balance each other out. Some of the steps were fun to solve, but the game lacked any royally satisfying moments.
Everything within Game of Stones stayed generally on theme (Kingdoms and medieval lore, not the rise of the living dead). The puzzles looked great and fit the story world with the exception of two that incorporated LED lighting. We’re not historians but we are fairly confident that electricity was not yet invented in the time period that Game of Stones is set in.
The final big task was essentially a very wordy deduction puzzle. There is one thing that logic puzzles should never require; logic leaps. Unfortunately there were a few which made this ending both quite difficult and frustrating.
Hints are delivered by overhead audio and are read in the same character voice as the narration. This again really helped with the immersion and keeping the story moving forward.
Game of Stones is a mass produced game that can be purchased by any venue. There are a few different models of the game available, but those who have played Game of Stones, The Four Kingdoms, or other similarly marketed experiences at a different venue may already know what to expect.
For being a purchased plug-and-play game, the scenic design and quality is quite impressive. People who are fans of a not to be named popular HBO series or medieval storyworlds in general will certainly enjoy finding themselves imprisoned within these castle walls.
There are some clever puzzles, but we felt some improvements could be made to really match our appreciation of the scenic. A bit more creativity in puzzle design would go a long way in making Game of Stones feel less cookie cutter in nature.
The solid set, quality story, and voice acting narration and hints help carry Game of Stones to a 4 Key rating.
Gotham Escape Room has converted a center city basement into a really beautiful space. The other 5 games opening at this location do not seem to be plug-and-play escape rooms so we are excited to see how their eye for design translates into customized quests! Our first impression definitely makes us believe Gotham Escape Room will be a welcome addition to the Philadelphia escape game scene.
Venue: Gotham Escape Room
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Number of Games: 6
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 10 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $25 per person Monday-Thursday / $30 per person Friday-Sunday